Did you know that handwriting can indicate over 5,000 different personality traits? I didn’t even know there were over 5,000 different personality traits, but handwriting analysts maintain that the size and shape of your letters, the spacing between your words, and even the pressure you apply to the page when writing, all signify different personal characteristics. How you dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s can reveal much more about you than you might wish to be known . . .
But you know, this may not be much of a worry for us in the future. I mean, what happens when people stop hand-writing altogether? How will they (the ubiquitous ‘they’) analyse all those thousands of personality traits then? ‘Never going to happen’ you might say. Perhaps. But many schools no longer teach cursive (‘running-writing’) to their students and schools in Finland have become the first to completely phase out handwriting lessons at all in favour of typing . . .
At first I was surprised by that . . . but then I thought perhaps they had seen some of the handwriting that is prevalent these days and decided they were fighting a losing battle . . .
I admit I have been grumbling (loudly, often, and to anyone who will listen) about the sad decline of penmanship and the depressing illegibility of many of the handwritten documents that have come across my desk of late.
Please bear with me while I have a little ‘vent’ . . .
In 2015 a new initiative was introduced in the education sector in Australia whereby each student enrolling in a nationally accredited course was required to obtain a ‘Unique Student Identifier’ (USI). This USI was a 10 digit computer-generated mix of letters and numbers, individual to each student, and no-one would be able to enrol without one. This USI would (eventually) be used to create a secure online database of all student training records.
Sounds fair enough, doesn’t it? Sure. Why not? Except that now, two years down the track, I spend half my working days peering at incoming enrolment documents, desperately trying to correctly decipher these (handwritten) USIs so they can be entered into my own student data system. ‘Is that a 2 or a z? . . . or a B or an 8? . . . a 7 or a T?’ Without the context of a sentence to ‘guess’ at a poorly written letter or figure, it is often impossible to tell.
(Added to my aggravation is that my computer could care less. If I don’t get that USI exactly right, it won’t verify it. Period.)
In my less fraught moments, I get it. I really do. Advances in technology have meant that many people don’t need to hand-write anything much any more so it’s hardly surprising that these skills have taken a back seat to typing (or texting).
But . . . don’t you think that’s a bit of a shame?
I am not completely naive. Technology is here to stay and we will all need the skills to deal with it—but do we have to entirely forgo one skill to take up another?
Setting aside for the moment the fact that trying to read poor handwriting is increasingly driving this humble office worker further into madness, handwriting is, as the analysts point out, the outward manifestation of an individual personality. Is that not, in itself, reason enough to nurture the skill?
Don’t you think it would be great to see all the world’s fabulous individual personalities reflected in wonderful, bold, beautiful, creative, colourful (and legible—please let it be legible) handwriting? I do.
What about you?